fri 17/08/2018

New Music Reviews

Joan Baez, Royal Albert Hall review - diamonds, but no rust

Liz Thomson

2018 has become a year of farewells as a mighty handful of musicians who have, in their different ways, defined popular music bow out. Among them is Joan Baez, a star on the Harvard Square coffeehouse scene when she made her unannounced debut at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She was 18 and, it’s safe to say, never dreamed she’d be filling concert halls around the world 60 years later.

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All Points East, Victoria Park review - Björk blooms at new Hackney festival

Chris Harvey

For the past decade, Victoria Park in east London has been host to the Field Day and Lovebox festivals, both homegrown and both still growing in size and influence.

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Echo & the Bunnymen, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review – Mac and Will hit the road with added strings

Guy Oddy

This Echo and the Bunnymen gig in Birmingham is one that almost didn’t happen, on a tour to promote the soon-to-be-released The Stars, the Oceans and the Moon, their first album since 2014’s Meteorites.

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra/Deerhunter, Albert Hall, Manchester review – New Zealanders and friends create festival vibe

Javi Fedrick

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s four albums all centre around off-kilter pop and flirtations with distortion; their latest LP, Sex & Food, carries this tradition forwards in a more laid-back manner.

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Nirvana

kieron Tyler

In William S, Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch, a simopath was “a citizen convinced he is an ape or other simian. It is a disorder peculiar to the army and discharge cures it.” Being in uniform, then, reversed evolution.

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Malcolm Middleton, Brighton Festival review - mordant brilliance

thomas H Green

Before starting this review a decision was taken: that the over-used description of singer-songwriter Malcolm Middleton as a “Scottish miserablist” would not appear. However, this has proved impossible. Middleton is renowned, to the coterie who enjoy his music, for songs ripe with dejection but the first half of his set tonight is especially heavy with stark soul-searching.

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The Rolling Stones, London Stadium review - only rock'n'roll?

Adam Sweeting

As the veteran combo roll around one more time, five years after they last performed in the UK, many a ticket-buyer for their No Filter tour has taken the view that, as the Stones once sang, this could be the last time.

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A Change is Gonna Come, Brighton Festival review - lively, winning jazz adventure

thomas H Green

Watching this band in action is a treat. They gel absolutely and play off one another in a manner that’s easy and mellow, yet also sparks by occasionally teetering on the edge of their virtuosic abilities.

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Reissue CDs Weekly: African Scream Contest 2

kieron Tyler

African Scream Contest 2 opens with a burst of distorted guitar suggesting a parallel-world response to The Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today”. Then, the song beds in and a James Brown groove plays off against spindly lead-guitar lines also evoking California in the psychedelic era: the extemporisation of Jefferson Airplane. At 3.06, the vocalist and percussionist are left to get on with it for 30 seconds.

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Robbie Thomson XFRMR, Brighton Festival review - lightning strikes out

thomas H Green

The welcome to Glasgow audio-visual artist Robbie Thomson’s performance engenders a hefty sense of anticipation. It’s almost nervousness-inducing as we’re handed ear-plugs and warned about how very loud it’s going to be. Then, walking into the main hall from the bar, all is gloom.

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